ТOP7 Best Dog Life Jackets 2018 | Comparison | Rated | Reviews

The Importance of Life Jackets for Dogs

People think that dogs are good swimmers by nature. However, this is far not like that. Surely, certain breeds, Labrador Retriever, for instance, are natural swimmers. But there are dogs that loathe the water, while others are simply afraid of it. They would freeze at the water’s end and refuse to go in by all means. And the last thing a dog owner wants is to have his four-legged friend fall overboard. This could be a real nightmare for dogs who can’t swim. Especially for such cases, manufacturers offer life jackets designed for dogs. With the help of a life jacket, your natural swimmer will face rough waves safely, while dogs which are not natural swimmers can start enjoying and loving water.

Life jackets made for dogs are available in most diverse colors, all of which, yet, are bright and noticeable from afar. Some models also feature neon stripes and accents to make your dog vivid in the water when it’s dark.

Neoprene is the material most life jackets are made of. This amazingly lightweight synthetic rubber material is entirely resistant to water, weather (wind, heat, cold, etc.), and oil.

An important feature every quality life jacket for a dog should have is comfortability. The freedom of movements is crucial for every dog, as these creatures are extremely active. No jacket should restrict a dog’s chasing, running, and swimming motions.

Today, there are different dog life jacket sizes you should be guided by first of all.

Small Size Jackets

Small dogs, as a rule, are not natural swimmers. Moreover, they do not even seem to like water. And if you are planning to spend a day near the water, your dog can’t do without a dog life jacket. Life jackets of different sizes do not differ from one another in their structure, design or material choice. Representatives of Terrier, Papillon, Spaniel, Shih Tzu, Pomeranian, Maltese and other breeds fit into this category and need pretty little life jackets.

Additionally, if you have a puppy and you want him to learn swimming as soon as possible, an XXS dog life jacket is what you should get first. These are tiny jackets designed to provide comfort and safety to the smallest dogs and puppies.

Medium Size Jackets

Dogs having medium sizes such as Akita, Foxhound, Staffordshire Terriers, Australian Shepherd need well fitting life jackets that can provide a decent level of security in the water. A series of brands offer amazing products make medium-size jackets with velcro,  fasteners, clips, and even zippers. As these dogs are heavier than small ones, the firm fastening really matters a lot.

Big Size Jackets

Bigger dogs need bigger and firmer jackets. It’s mandatory to check the manufacturer’s sizing guide to make the right choice. Only a perfectly-fitting life jacket can serve its purpose and save your dog in case of an emergency. The seams should be firm, the straps should stay tight, and the structure of the jacket should not hamper the dog’s urinating.

If your pet is a healthy Boerboel, Anatolian Shepherd, Bullmastiff, Doberman, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Mastiff, Rottweiler, Saint Bernard, you may need an XL dog life jacket or even an XXL dog life jacket. Everything, in this case, depends on the dog’s age and weight.

Comparison Chart of Life Jackets for Dogs


Gooby Padded Cold Weather Vest for Small Dogs with Safe Fur Guard Zipper Closure

Gooby Padded

Kuoser Cozy Waterproof Windproof Reversible British style Plaid Dog

Kuoser Cozy

Dog Life Jacket - Outward Hound Kyjen - Granby Splash

Dog Life

Paws Aboard Double Designer Doggy Life Jacket

Paws Aboard

 Vivaglory Dog Life Jackets with Extra Padding for Dogs, Available in 5 Sizes & 7 Colors

Vivaglory Dog

Paws Aboard Red Neoprene Life Jacket, Dog or Cat Life Preserver

Paws Aboard

Outward Hound Dawson Swim Novice Swimmer Life Jacket for Dogs

Outward Hound

Sizes XS, S, M, L, XL XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, 3XL XS, S, M, L, XL XXS, XS, S, M, L XS, S, M, XL XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL XS, S, M, L, XL
Material Water-resistant fabric Polyester/TC (terylene/cotton) Ripstop Neoprene Mesh, Synthetic Neoprene Neoprene
Fastening System Zipper    Velcro Tabs Belly Buckles, Chest Straps, Velcro Tabs Belly Buckles Velcro Tabs, Nylon Straps, Belly Buckles Adjustable Nylon Straps, Belly Buckles, Belly and Neck Velcro Tabs Belly and Neck Buckles
Colors Blue, Green, Green Solid,Pink, Pink Solid, Purple, Red, Red Solid, Turquoise Solid Brown, Green, Red, Beige Dark Pink, Fun Fish, Orange,Pink Nautical Dog, Pink PolkaDot, Blue Polka Dot, Neon Yellow Army Green, Blue, CamoBlue, Camo Pink, Extra Reflective Green/Orange/Yellow, Pink, Yellow Red with Reflective Strips Orange, Red with Reflective Elements
Front Float No No  Yes No Removable No Removable
Grab Handles No No   Dual  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes
Purpose Cold/Vet Weather Outdoor Vest Cold/Vet Weather Outdoor Vest Life Jacket Life Jacket Life Jacket, Hunting Jacket Life Jacket Life Jacket for Novice Swimmers


Interesting Facts About Life Jackets for Dogs

Newfoundland Rescuing a Woman

  1. Due to the thick coating, enhanced muscular body, unsurpassed swimming abilities and the endless love toward water activities, Newfoundlands are most often incorporated into saving drowning people.
  2. Originally, the unique haircut of the Poodle was meant to facilitate the dog’s swimming and improve their agility in the water. The Poodles’ pom-poms were intended to warm the dogs’ joints in the water.
  3. The short legs of Dachshunds, Boxers, and Bulldogs make them bad swimmers. Short-faced dogs, meanwhile, fatigue easily and swim with immense difficulty.
  4. Some hunting dogs are so focused on retrieving the catch, that they go far in the water not paying attention to the coldness of the water or their tired muscles, and get drowned.
  5. A good swimming dog can swim up to two-three hours, and cross as much as five nautical miles. A dog known as Prince once crossed the English Channel.

How We Chose and Tested the Best Life Jackets for Dogs

Choosing a life jacket for your dog requires a high sense of responsibility. Surely, you do not want your sweetheart pet feel uncomfortable, irritated or even hurt in a jacket. A good jacket is to fit your pet well, feature firm handles so that you can pull him out of the water if necessary.

Having read a huge pile of reviews left by responsible pet owners, as well as having interviewed life jacket manufacturers, our skillful staff has separated seven amazing models. We have written a dog life jacket review on each model to showcase all the advantages and disadvantages they have. A number of tests were carried out prior to demonstrating the jackets to your attention. Such aspects were paid special attention to as the material, the fastening system, the structure, the availability of a removable front float, the coloring, and the price.

The Best Life Jackets for Dogs 2018

If you wonder what is the best dog life jacket, we are ready to make you come to a logical conclusion yourself. Here are seven top-rated dog life jacket models reviewed in details. Though the first two models are rather ordinary weather dog vests than life jackets, they are worth your attention, too.

Gooby Padded Cold Weather Vest for Small Dogs with Safe Fur Guard Zipper Closure

Gooby Padded Cold Weather Vest for Small Dogs with Safe Fur Guard Zipper Closure

A good quality small dog life jacket should be not only highly protective but also comfortable just as this model by Gooby. Although the dog vest is available in several sizes ranging from X-Small to X-Large, the jacket is best, particularly for small dogs. The vest is sure to fit nice your little friend and protect him in cold and wet weather. Cold winters are no longer an issue for walking your dog. The water-resistant fabric layer will protect the dog in low temperatures. The inside layer, meanwhile, is made of fleece cushion fabric for comfortability. Due to the small safeguard, the zipper won’t pull the dog’s fur and hurt him.

This vest by Gooby can freely be considered as the best small dog life jacket and not only. It’s also very easily maintainable. A simple machine wash is enough for making the jacket look clean and new. Perhaps the only complaint left in the reviews of dog owners is the inaccurate sizing. Quite often, the size they get doesn’t coincide with that stated in the chart.

Kuoser Cozy Waterproof Windproof Reversible British style Plaid Dog

Kuoser Cozy Waterproof Windproof Reversible British style Plaid Dog

Available in several color options, this vest promises your beloved pet will feel warm, dry and comfortable even if it’s cold and rainy outdoors. Actually, featuring a water-resistant outer layer and a polyester fiber filler, the jacket can also be accepted as a plaid. It’s really warm from one side, while the other side is made to repel water when it’s raining heavily. The design of the jacket is really awesome with its exquisite stitching. It looks pretty in its vintage style.

Anyway, despite the multiple advantages of the windproof and waterproof jacket offered by Kuoser, there are also a couple of complaints left. First, the dog life jacket size chart provided seems to be not accurate. Quite often people order the product guided by the chart and get smaller variants. Another disadvantage of this durable and stylish dog vest lies in the velcro fasteners — they have no adjustments.

Dog Life Jacket - Outward Hound Kyjen - Granby Splash

Dog Life Jacket — Outward Hound Kyjen — Granby Splash

This life jacket manufactured by Outward Hound was designed to provide your four-legged friend with safe swimming in calm waters. It features a rescue handle to grab and save your dog in case of an emergency. Yet, you’d better always keep your eye on your pet when he is in water. This dog water life jacket by the remarkable brand name is made of a highly durable ripstop material to ensure comfortable and enjoyable buoyancy for your dog. The jacket will restrict your pet’s movements neither in the water nor on the land. Due to the unique front neck float, your dog’s head and neck will be kept above water. The neoprene belly band, meanwhile, stands for the secure support of the pet’s stomach and chest.

Another amazing advantage of the jacket is the bright color options available. Be certain, you can’t lose your dog in the water when he is wearing a bright orange or pink vest. 

Along with this series of advantages, there are some complaints stated in the dog life jacket reviews left. Several users inform their jackets’ stitches started tearing off after several uses.

Paws Aboard Double Designer Doggy Life Jacket

Paws Aboard Double Designer Doggy Life Jacket

Available in several color options (all bright enough to notice your dog swimming even far in the water), the cheap dog life jacket produced by Paws Aboard was designed to ensure the safe buoyancy of your pet. The jacket’s belly is made of enhanced breathable mesh that stands for decent draining and drying. The velcro fasteners are 100% secure. The jacket is fastened around the dog’s belly and neck for extra security level. If you are interested in purchasing the life jacket, remember that it is designed for small dogs.

Anyway, though the vest looks very pretty and is priced affordably, many dog owners state it doesn’t keep the dog upright but tilts him to the side. This is an important issue one should never neglect when making a choice.

Vivaglory Dog Life Jackets with Extra Padding for Dogs, Available in 5 Sizes & 7 Colors

The pretty life jacket for dogs offered by an outstanding brand Vivaglory is securely designed to provide you little pet’s safe and enjoyable swimming. It features extra padding that stands for better flotation and a reliable fastening system (velcro). The latter is fastened around the dog’s belly and neck. A firm handle is sewn on the top for you to pull your dog out of the water when necessary. There is a removable front float that guarantees your dog’s head is always above the water. As the life jacket is offered in different sizes, you can get a dog life jacket medium, as well. Manufacturers encourage customers to be careful when picking up the size. If your dog’s measures are close to the top dimensions, you’d better select the size that comes next up.

Nevertheless, it’s natural that not all customers can stay thoroughly satisfied with the quality of the jacket. Some pet owners state their vests ripped at the seam after a couple of uses.

Paws Aboard Red Neoprene Life Jacket, Dog or Cat Life Preserver

Paws Aboard Red Neoprene Life Jacket, Dog or Cat Life Preserver

The red neoprene life jacket produced by Paws Aboard is definitely one of the most secure models the modern market is filled with. It’s offered in different sizes and will fit your dog perfectly. Ordering a big dog life jacket for your pet, you are ensuring his safety and comfortability in the water. Even though the bright red coloring is totally enough to notice your pet from afar, the manufacturers also added reflective strips for good visibility in the darkness. The firm velcro system that fastens around the dog’s belly and neck, as well as the quick-releasing buckles and the adjustable nylon straps, ensure the firm fixation of the jacket on your pet. The life jacket also features a cloth handle on its back to help you get the dog out of the water in case of an emergency. Though the jacket is not a cheap one, it’s definitely worth every penny. The only issue you may come across is that the jacket is not designed for long dogs such as Daschund.

Outward Hound Dawson Swim Novice Swimmer Life Jacket for Dogs

Outward Hound Dawson Swim Novice Swimmer Life Jacket for Dogs

Among the best dog life jacket reviews, the one left about the Dawson Swim Novice offered by Outward Hound brand has its honorable place. It’s available in several sizes to perfectly fit any dog. You can pick up either red or orange jacket being sure both will make your dog’s swimming visible from afar.

The unique structure of the neoprene life jacket makes it an excellent choice for novice swimmers or those dogs, who are afraid/feel uncomfortable in the water. There are side foam panels that keep even big dogs afloat, while the neoprene material will keep your dog warm even if the water is very cold. The life jacket features a front float created to support the dog’s head and neck above water. The firm handles were added to pull out your dog from the water if an emergency occurs. The quick release buckles and clips, meanwhile, stand for the firm and easy fastening of the jacket on your dog. However, some jackets turn to feature not properly working clips which can cause a problem. Perhaps, that’s the only disadvantage stated about this life jacket by Outward Hound.

How to Choose the Right Size of a Life Jacket for Your Dog

Size chart

Choosing a life jacket for your four-legged friend, it’s crucial to pay attention to the size chart offered by manufacturers. In case the life jacket is either smaller or bigger for your pet, it won’t preserve its rescuing properties. Even the best dog life jacket will become useless if sized improperly. It’s important to consider the weight of your dog, as a jacket designed for lighter dogs won’t provide the same security level of keeping the dog afloat when worn by a heavier dog. You will also need to measure the chest of your pet behind the armpit, the dog’s back length and the neck circumference. Here is a size chart you need to be guided by when choosing a life jacket for your dog:

Recommendations for Washing Your Dogs’ Life Jacket

Dogs’ life jackets need proper care. They should be washed after each use. Most life jackets can be safely machine washed. Just make sure the jacket is completely dry prior to storing it. Otherwise, it will have signs of mold and mildew, as well as smell bad once you pull it out of the storage at the beginning of the next summer. If this happened, however, you can «save» your dog’s life jacket by submerging it into the solution of water and salt (1/2 cup of salt for 1 liter of water) for an entire day. After you take it out of the solution, scrub the jacket accurately, wash it with a solution of water and dishwasher detergent, rinse with clean water, and dry it. Make sure the jacket is exposed to much sun and gets completely dry before the next use.


If you have undertaken the responsibility of keeping a pet, it’s your moral duty to ensure his safety both on the land and in the water. For this, you will need to get a really trustworthy and quality life jacket — the one, that will keep your four-legged friend safe in the water giving you a peace of mind. To help you make your choice wisely, we carried out a survey, tested the best jackets suggested and found out which is the best dog life jacket 2018! And our choice is Outward Hound Dawson Swim Novice Swimmer Life Jacket for Dogs! With this life jacket, your beloved dog will learn to love the water, enjoy lots of exercises, and, which is the most significant, be safe in the water!


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